Over the years, I’ve become the Queen of decorating on a shoe string.
Raising a family and getting a good education was always my priority. But right up there with it having a comfortable, efficient, and beautiful home was a must.
When you’re on a tight budget, as I was a lot of your spare time is spent at home, watching movies, gardening, entertaining friends potluck style, and just hanging out.
The first time I was able to buy new furniture was after my dad passed away.
He had left me a little bit of money so I bought a new used car and a room full of furniture for my living room.
All of this included a tufted tight back sofa in faux leather, a coffee and two end tables made out of fiber board with glass tops, two bamboo style lamps with cane shades, and a remnant piece of shag rug that was turquoise, brown, and cream shag with a bold plaid design. I loved it!
In the kitchen I put up contact paper with a bold sunflower pattern behind the counter area, added gold and white gingham café curtains, and antiqued some unfinished counter stools in a rich golden yellow.
I was 21 years old and had no idea what I was doing, but I loved it!
Since then, I’ve learned a lot more about furniture, etc.
Here are some things that I learned.
- Bringing color into the home is an energizer. What are your favorite colors?
- If the eye has places to rest in a room on things of beauty, you will feel more centered, grounded, and at peace.
- Comfortable places to sit where the back feels supported is a must.
- Window treatments not only provide privacy, but also a serene quieting of the room, a way to filter light and reduce glare, so why not make them beautiful?
- Tables of various sizes act as servers to hold a drink, a vase of flowers, or a lamp. They make your life easier by standing by to serve you.
- Ambient lighting makes a room feel more cozy and intimate. Lamps are like jewelry for the room. Lamps bring more character and personality into your rooms.
- A place for everything and everything in it’s place. Having a designated place for the kids toys was a big one. At the end of the day they could always return them to their place.
- Kitchen and bathroom organization is also a must. A major consideration for these two rooms, is that they are easy to clean. Cleaning supplies kept in a designated spot, maybe in a tub or bucket so they are easy to pull out.
- A personal clothes hamper for each bedroom so the bathroom doesn’t become a dumping ground for dirty underwear.
The late 70’s early 80’s brought in the surge of antiquing for a hobby.
These folks saw the value in the furniture quality of goods made in the first half of the 20th century.
Rachel Ashwell brought a new focus to antiquing making “chippy paint” vogue and giving herself permission to paint those antiques. She also made it cool to use slipcovers on furniture. Thus the Shabby Chic era was born. She helped to break down the veil between the rich and the poor making it fashionable to decorate on a shoe string.
We got the message that everyone deserved to have a beautiful home no matter what walk of life.
It spurred on the creative movement that is alive and well today where we see the value of one man’s trash is another person’s treasure.
It’s fun to go thrift store shopping. It’s like a treasure hunt.
Old, worn-out, dilapidated can be upcycled, painted and re-born.
Roadside finds are like a gift from the gods to a creative mind.
Any home can be a cottage or a castle with a little ingenuity.
Another wave of creativity that has come through in the last 20 years or so is Feng Shui.
Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese art of placement showed people the deeper connection to their living spaces, that every thing we surround ourselves within our homes, has a direct connection to our external lives as well.
Creating a sacred space in your home was imminent to connect with your Divinity on a daily basis.
Feng Shui shows us how to work with the Law of Attraction by paying attention to the subtleties of clutter blocking our paths, images or word signs that influence us every day.
I can still remember the hanging ceramic planter in my mom’s kitchen when I was growing up. “Busy hands make a happy heart”. And the plaque with Jesus’ picture hanging in our dining room; ” Christ is the head of this house, the unseen guest at every meal, the silent listener to every conversation. For to me to live is Christ”. Needless to say, we were pretty well-behaved at the dinner table! Always a prayer before the meal that was served promptly at 5:00pm everyday except Sundays when we ventured off to visit Grandma or the cousins. Oh, but things have changed!
Our most recent gift in the world of decorating and keeping house is Marie Condo, of the books ” The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and “ Spark Joy” and “The Life Changing Manga of Tidying Up”( a fictional story).
I’ve spent a great deal of time reading her books and listening to them on audio via YouTube.
Marie has spent a life-time of experimenting trying new methods, and tuning in to the more subtle realms of cleaning house.
She had a psychic experience after tidying to the point of exhaustion one day, where she went into an altered state and came out on the other end being able to “see” the energy around objects.
She was also receiving intuitive guidance from the Higher Ups on her journey.
Ultimately, she has found her calling, her Life Purpose and has been able to share her experiences with us with her subtle humor, her Japanese heritage of special folding techniques garnered from bento box organization and origami, and her deep insights into how the energy of our stuff affects our life on an energetic level. She shows us how every item contains Life-Force and is here to serve us in some way, and how we should be grateful for everything that crosses our path and show gratitude to these things in the humblest way, by saying Thankyou.
When’s the last time you thanked your underwear for serving you? They have a tough job to do.
Dear Cottage Mavens,
We’ve come full circle today, laying a solid foundation for your understanding of house and home and what is necessary to create the home of your dreams.
Let us not forget the benefit of reducing chemicals in our homes, whether it be in our food our pet’s food, or in our cleaning supplies, and the fabrics we wear in our clothes to our furniture.
By creating the home of our dreams whether it be a cottage or a castle, using our creativity, opening ourselves to the possibilities, only then will we understand the Magic that Marie Condo talks about.